A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Colebrook Road foliage
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"Surrounded By Witnesses"
Message summary: Consider veterans you know today, both military and spiritual. Why don't you take a moment to thank God for them, and if it's possible, write a word of appreciation to them. You'll make their day!
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"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1a).
Today is Veteran's Day. On this day we are especially called to remember those who served our country in times of conflict and in times of peace. War is one of the awful consequences of the Fall. Mankind has been in conflict with one another ever since Cain killed Abel. The first wars are recorded in Genesis 14.
We realize many veterans read these messages, including several we know, as well as those who are in active service. We thank you for your service. I specifically consider my dad (left) who trained as a pilot during WW2 and Brooksyne's dad (right) who served during the Korean War. We both also have brothers who are veterans as well as many extended family members and friends and those in churches we have served
Today let us consider spiritual veterans who have "fought the good fight". This phrase was first used by the Apostle Paul in his final letter (2 Timothy 4:7). I am grateful for all, great and small, who have gone before us and joined the "great cloud of witnesses" referred to in our daily text.
We thank God for the giants of faith, those well known in the Bible and in the history of the Church. But only a very tiny percentage of those who have lived by faith are well known.
The vast, vast majority has lived in relative obscurity. But their contribution is just as important. These are the people we personally know, those who have taught us and come alongside us in times of trial. What great encouragement they give us!
Some of these veterans have joined the great cloud of witnesses in heaven and the older you get the greater this category grows.
Others still plod along on this side. "Plod" to me is a positive word. Warren Wiersbe, who is now with the Lord, had a formative role in both our lives through his many books. One of them was titled, "In Praise of Plodders".
He elaborates, "Plodders are those who labor with determination and drive--whether pastor, teacher, choir director, or counselor. The word “plod” comes from a Middle English word that means "a puddle.” A "plodder" is someone who is willing to get his feet wet and wade through water and mud to get to his destination. He or she keeps going! History shows us that it is the plodders who finally make it. "By perseverance," said Spurgeon, "the snail reached the ark." In this age of fast food, digests and quick fixes, plodding is not held in high esteem; but it is still the plodders who are getting things done, a day at a time, a step at a time. William Carey sums it up well, “I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
These living veterans demonstrate faithfulness to the end. I consider Ed Berkey. He was a pastor for many years before he served as the district superintendent of Southern New England. Brooksyne and I came to know him and his wife Gladys when I was pastoring in Taunton, MA. The Berkeys celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary in September and we stay in touch through daily encouragement. I still recall an encouraging word from him back in 1996 while our online ministry was still in its infancy. This week, 25 years later, we received an encouraging note from him.
Consider veterans you know today, both military and spiritual, some both. Why don't you take a moment to thank God for them, and if it's possible, write a word of appreciation to them. You'll make their day!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we give thanks for our veterans who have served in the military seeking to defend our freedoms and serve their country. Far too many gave their all and did not return to their home shore alive. We are also thankful for the many spiritual veterans who have served us. While military forces defend our rights with the latest military gear and technique, spiritual veterans do battle for us in the spiritual realm. They know our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We're grateful for their dedication and for the sacrifice they made on our behalf. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Pastor Ed and Gladys Berkey celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in September 2017. Ed was my District Superintendent the first several years we lived in New England in the 90's and was an early encourager of our Daily Encouragement ministry. This week we received an encouraging note from him.
Shenck's Mill Covered bridge is one of Lancaster Counties many covered bridges. The rather unsightly bar in front of it is to prohibit entry to over-sized vehicles. Years ago a covered bridge in eastern Lancaster County was damaged when a semi truck tried to go through!!! I rode my bike in this area yesterday in the late warm afternoon just before the sunset.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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